Journalists are briefly detained by security agents at the National Legislative Assembly in Juba.
On Monday, a journalist from Eye Radio was temporarily arrested by security personnel while reporting demonstrations at the National Legislative Assembly in Juba.
Protests were carried out by youngsters from Unity state’s Leer County in response to persistent violence in their community. The protesting youths also demanded the resignation of state Governor Joseph Monytuil for allegedly neglecting to address security issues in the state.
Obaj Okuj, who had been interviewing demonstrators, was then summoned before leaving the August House grounds. After a few hours of imprisonment, he was freed.
Obaj explained that security took his device and instructed him to delete all recordings, which he did.
“After the demonstration, I interviewed several of the youth leaders, and the security guards questioned why I was doing it and that I was not meant to interview the protesters,” Obaj said. “After that, they detained me, confiscated my recorder, and told me to erase the recording,” he said.
In response to the incident, the President of the Union of Journalists (UJOSS) called it “unfortunate.”
According to Patrick Oyet, his government would work with authorities in the national legislative to “put a stop to the continuing illegal persecution of journalists.”
“It is sad that a journalist has been arrested or detained in parliament again. “It’s sad, and we’ll keep working with the authorities in parliament to make sure similar arrests don’t happen again,” Oyet added.
“As UJOSS, we are quite worried by the frequency of situations in which a journalist is imprisoned and subsequently freed,” he continued. We will pursue the case, and we will follow up with the authorities in parliament.”
At least eight journalists and an activist were temporarily held by the National Security Service in February this year while covering a press conference at Parliament in Juba.
The reporters came from various news organizations.
The media accepted an invitation written by around 19 lawmakers to bemoan the difficulties faced by MPs in Juba and the sluggish implementation of the peace deal.
However, security officers on the premises allegedly intruded and told the MPs to cancel the news conference. They also grabbed all media equipment and transported the journalists to the Internal Security Bureau’s office inside the August House.
The reporters were eventually taken to the Political Bureau’s National Security headquarters on Bilpam Road.
They were detained for over four hours before being freed after an intervention by the President of the South Sudan Union of Journalists.
According to the Media Authority Act of 2018, accredited journalists have the right to attend briefings, press conferences, press releases, and other events organized for the press, as well as participation in official visits by state and government officials.